March 1, 2013
The ninth-ranked men’s gymnastics team (1-6) will square off against No. 5 Stanford (6-1), the University of Washington training team, Arizona State club team and the Japanese Collegiate National Team Saturday at 7 p.m. at Burnham Pavilion in Palo Alto.
“This meet offers us a great experience. Japan’s team contains an Olympian, and competing in the arena with all those teams is quite an experience for our own team,” said California assistant head coach Colin Christ.
The meet will also be the first meet that uses the new “five up, five count” scoring system. In the new system, the team enters five gymnasts per event, and all five gymnasts’ scores count. Previously, teams could enter six gymnasts but drop the lowest score to count only five in the team total.
“It puts a lot more pressure on the athlete because every routine counts on your score,” Christ said. “We don’t have that luxury of being able to go up and know if someone bombs a routine we won’t have to count it anymore.”
The team has held special sessions in practice to simulate the pressure of the five up, five count system.
“We’re trying not to think about results too much. We’re trying to focus on the experience of the event. We want the guys to stay positive. Even if there’s a mistake, the next guy needs to go up and focus on hitting his own routine so we keep the energy up the whole way through,” Christ said.
This is the third consecutive week the Golden Bears have traveled across the bay for a meet at Stanford. Last week, Cal lead the Stanford dual meet through four events until the Cardinal eclipsed the Golden Bears’ score to win 428.800-424.550. Cal set a season-high score in the floor exercise with 74.20, and a handful of Bears set new bests, including a career-best performance on pommel by freshman Takahiro Kawada (14.95), season-best from Jeffrey Langenstein on floor (15.70) and Matthew del Junco on rings (14.70).
“Things have really been turning around the last few weeks or so and this team is really growing up fast,” Christ said. “We could really surprise a lot of people by the end of the year with where we get.”